Top 5 Best Mirrorless Cameras under $500
Here we are looking at the best mirrorless cameras under $500. If you have a bigger budget you can read our review article about the best mirrorless cameras under $1,000.
Our Picks for “Best Budget Mirrorless Cameras”
1. The Canon EOS M10
For just $499.99, the Canon EOS M10 mirrorless is a one of the best mirrorless cameras under $500 for both amateurs and enthusiasts alike. Its biggest USP is the large sensor that sits behind the lens. It is powered by an 18 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and Canon’s DIGIC 6 image processor.
Capable of shooting stills at up to 4.6 fps the EOS M10 also supports 14-bit RAW. It is also a capable video shooter, able to capture full HD videos at 1080p (@30 fps) with an integrated stereo mic that records sound with the videos. It also has integrated Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.
Canon has powered the EOS M10 with hybrid CMOS AF II and a total of 49 AF points. The major disadvantages with the EOS M10 are the lack of a viewfinder and an accessory hot-shoe.
2. Fujifilm X-Pro1
Based around a 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor and powered by an EXR Image Processor, the Fujifilm X-Pro1 mirrorless digital camera is a very capable shooter.
It is one of the first ever compact frame mirrorless cameras that Fuji designed that had an interchangeable lens mount. This is one of the more successful cameras designed by the company and despite the initial shortcomings, the camera was not only persisted with but also improved upon with regular firmware updates.
The X-Pro1 has a hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder, a 3.0” 1.23 million dot LCD monitor and full HD video capabilities (24 fps). It also has TTL contrast detection auto-focus. You can shoot at a maximum of 6 fps on continuous burst rate.
3. Sony Alpha a5100
The Sony Alpha a5100 Mirrorless Digital Camera is powered by a 24.3 megapixel APS-C EXMOR HD CMOS sensor.
Sony’s BIONZ image processor is legendary in terms of handling in low light situations. On top of it, it has a hybrid auto-focusing system that combines a fast 25-point contrast detection system and combines that with 179-point on-chip phase detection system to deliver accurate auto-focusing performance at all times.
A newly designed gapless on-chip lens design ensures that gaps between individual pixels are optimized for better light gathering. The a5100 has a 3” 921.6k dot tilting touchscreen LCD to compose images and to play them back for reviewing.
It shoots at up to 6 fps in continuous shooting mode and records videos in full HD.
One of the more pro features of the camera is manual focus peaking which alerts the shooter when the highest focus is obtained and zebra function, which is a highlight warning tool that alerts you when you clip highlights in your images.
You also get built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.
4. Nikon 1 J5
The Nikon 1 J5 comes from a long line of Nikon 1 series camera starting with the first J1.
The J series Nikon 1 cameras cater to the mid-range market. It sits between the latest V series and S series mirrorless cameras from Nikon. The J5 is the latest and arguably greatest iteration of Nikon’s foray into the 1” sensor based mid-range cameras. It is built around a 20.8 megapixel CX-format back-side illuminated CMOS sensor.
The backside illumination sensor basically means the camera has a much better low light shooting performance than other standard sensors. It is powered by an EXPEED 5A image processor. It captures stills at a mind-blowing 60 fps (20 fps when using continuous autofocusing).
Nikon has been pursuing its 1 series cameras quite persistently. So much so that they now have a total of 13 1 series lenses. Plus, with an adapter you can use a majority of the Nikkor f-mount lenses as well, further extending the applicability of the J1.
The other major features of the J5 include a 3” 1037k – dot tilting touchscreen, full HD video capability (1080p / 60 fps) and UHD capability at 2160p / 15 fps.
Another feature of the J5 is the absence of an optical low-pass filter. The absence of the optical low-pass filter means images shot with the J5 would be sharper. But you would also likely encounter false color and moiré in your images.
5. Olympus PEN E-PL7
Micro four thirds systems have a slight edge over 1” sensors. They are bigger and thus, the size of the individual pixels are bigger too. Technically, larger the individual size of the sensor, more light it can capture.
The Olympus PEN E-PL7 has a sensor size of 17.3 x 13mm compared to 13.2 x 8.8mm that on the Nikon J5 that we read above. The resolution of the Olympus PEN E-PL7 is 16 megapixel. It’s powered by a TruPic VII image processor.
The back of the camera is dominated by a large 3” bright 1.04 million dots 180 ˚ flip touchscreen. It shoots full HD videos at 30 fps and is capable of shooting continuous bursts of stills at 8 fps. It also has built-in Wi-Fi.
A FL-LM1 flash with a guide number of 23’ is provided with the package as well as a 14-42mm f/3.6 – 5.6 lenses.
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Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly.
He has been writing for over 7 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favorite pursuits.